It’s difficult to describe the sound of Scala and Kolacny Brothers without using the word “haunting.” Stijn Kolacny, who conducts the 30 or so young women who sing against the single piano accompaniment of Stijn’s brother Steven, says he only recently learned the meaning of the word.
“I didn’t know the word until the day before yesterday,” he says from his parents’ home in a small Belgian town. “We don’t have a translation in Dutch for ‘haunting.’”
So what does he now understand the word to mean?
“There is a certain ghosty magic stuff in it and it gets you,” he says in a thick accent. “It gets under your skin or something like that.”
Actually, the music is exactly like that. If you saw the trailer for last year’s hit, “The Social Network,” then there’s a huge possibility that the version of Radiohead’s “Creep” by Scala and Kolacny Brothers got under your skin with that certain ghosty magic stuff.
The brothers have a knack for bringing out the beauty in darker pop hits, and one of their trademarks is to use songs with arresting lyrics. It is indeed quite surprising to hear cuss words in a classical music arrangement, as a few hundred people in Austin, Texas, found out late last month at Scala and Kolacny Brothers’ first U.S. appearance, which took place at SXSW.
“There was the song, ‘You Oughta Know,’ by Alanis Morissette and there is the F-word in that, and when we sang the lyric, it was almost like we were playing a soccer game and we scored,” Kolacny recounts. “They all started shouting, like ‘Yayyyy!!!’ It was really special.”
Scala & Kolacny Brothers
Tonight, 7 p.m.
125 E. 11th St., New York
$25-$30, 18+, 212-353-1600
For more news on the world of music, follow Pat Healy on Twitter at @metrousmusic.